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April 28, 2024

US FDA Investigates Alleged Contamination of Indian Spices by MDH and Everest Amid Global Concerns

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has initiated an investigation into the products of Indian spice manufacturers MDH and Everest following concerns raised by Hong Kong over alleged contamination with high levels of a cancer-causing pesticide.

Hong Kong recently halted sales of certain products from MDH and Everest after discovering elevated levels of ethylene oxide, a compound deemed unfit for human consumption and associated with cancer risk. This move prompted Singapore to also recall an Everest spice mix for fish curries due to similar concerns.

A spokesperson from the FDA confirmed awareness of the reports, stating, “The FDA is aware of the reports and is gathering additional information about the situation.”

This revelation marks the first acknowledgment of the US FDA’s review of potential contamination in Indian spice products.

Despite requests for comment, MDH and Everest have not responded to inquiries from Reuters regarding the matter. Everest has previously asserted the safety of its spices, while MDH remains silent on the issue.

MDH and Everest spices, renowned for their popularity in India, are widely distributed in Europe, Asia, and North America. Concerns over their safety have triggered actions from India’s food regulators, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), and the Spices Board.

The FSSAI is currently investigating the quality standards of MDH and Everest products, following the actions taken by Hong Kong and Singapore. Additionally, the Spices Board, responsible for regulating spice exports from India, is collaborating with authorities and the companies to identify the root cause of the quality issues.

This scrutiny follows a similar incident in 2019 when certain batches of MDH products were recalled in the US due to salmonella contamination.

The situation highlights the importance of rigorous food safety standards and international cooperation in ensuring the quality of food products across borders. It underscores the need for continuous monitoring and regulation to safeguard consumer health.

As investigations proceed, consumers are advised to exercise caution and stay informed about product recalls and safety alerts issued by regulatory authorities. Manufacturers, on the other hand, must prioritize stringent quality control measures to prevent such incidents and maintain consumer trust in their products.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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